What IBM’s Spending Spree Says About Marketing Automation And Big vs Small
IBM has been making significant investments in the marketing automation and analytics space. Some great analysis from from John Lovett on the Blog Web Analytics Demystified, points out part of the reason for IBM’s $20 billion buying spree is acquiring “analytics technologies, building single view profiles of customers and delivering marketing process improvements…campaign automation solutions and interactive marketing prowess”.
Understanding what you customer wants to know and using that information to get them into your pipeline, and then accelerating them through it until they are ready to buy is a smart strategy. And it is clear that the market is putting a big price on the ability to do it. Sales teams have been doing it for years but the data, pipeline visibility, and nurturing options offered by marketing automation systems take it to the next level.
The IBM model looks at the advantages of big organizations vs mid-sized and small organizations and the budgets power they have to work with. IBM now offerd a range of big and powerful tools from Unica, SPSS, DataCap, Sterling Commerce, Cognos, and CoreMetrics. Big, expensive tools for big companies. Heck, even the concept of spending $20 billion to buy domination in the marketing automation space is a big vs small argument.
Getting B2B Customers By Focusing On Faster vs Slower
But the real question for most companies should be faster vs slower. Big data sets, big organizations, big budgets often move like battleships. They can dominate the battle once they arrive but they take months to get there, are hard to steer, and spend much of their time in port developing strategy or implementing new weapon’s systems, and they need deep water to get somewhere. In other words big companies are slow and risk adverse and have trouble with new markets or niche opportunities.
Slow moving companies are slow because they worry about perfection at every stage of their process from strategy to data to execution. And while getting it right is very important, worrying about perfection really slows down your cycle time. In the fog of war/business/life as soon as you have enough information for perfection the world has already changed. And your customers don’t have the time to wait for you to catch-up to their needs. This is a lesson IBM should already know.
How to Use John Boyd’s OODA Loop To Accelerate Your B2B pipeline and Get More Customers.
To stay on the military theme for a moment, look at the work by the strategist John Boyd and his concept of the OODA loop. You can find a smart OODA Loop article here in FastCompany. The key idea is that success is “all about rapid assessment and adaptation to a complex and rapidly changing environment that you can’t control….about making rapid, incremental improvements.” In other words about using a helicopter instead of a battleship. About moving faster and more flexibly. About getting more customers by throwing some intelligent mud against the wall. And for 95% of the B2B market it is about using light-weight solutions like ParDot: Prospect Insight or implementing intelligent content management systems in order to be faster and closer to your customer right now.
Understanding What Your Customer Wants To Know
And ultimately it is about understanding what your customer wants to know today not tomorrow and using that information to accelerate their progress through your pipeline so you can get more customers.